Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s ancestral haveli in Pak is collapsing due to government neglect


Due to the Pakistani government’s continued neglect of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s ancestral “haveli” in the city of Gujranwala in Pakistan, the roof of the haveli collapsed on Friday.

Part of the haveli of “Sher-e-Punjab” Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has collapsed despite authorities saying days ago that it was safe to be converted into a historic tourist site.

The deputy district commissioner visited the said haveli with the relevant department officials and declared it completely safe. It was advertised to be open to tourists, especially Sikhs from India.

Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, was born in this house on November 13, 1780. The haveli holds great significance for Sikhs around the world.

The mansion is shaped like a long rectangle, oriented north-south but slanted to the northeast in the dominant direction of the urban fabric of Gujranwala.

At the end of the 18th century it was probably surrounded by more greenery and open spaces, but today it is in an extremely overcrowded environment surrounded by illegally built makeshift dwellings.

In a video shared by locals, the heritage property, which once reflected the wealth and eminence of Ranjit Singh’s father, Mahan Singh appears to be in ruins.

A local said: “There is an illegal fish market in front of the haveli. Funds have been repeatedly allocated to repair this heritage property, but the collapse of the roof shows utter neglect.”

“The remaining part of the haveli also remains in a dilapidated state. A park was built outside the haveli, which turned into a fish market”.

The building has been declared a protected heritage building by the Department of Archeology of Pakistan, but officials rarely visit. The Pakistani government has over time allocated funds for the restoration of the haveli, but it has not been utilized.

There were reports claiming that the government had converted an area of ​​the haveli into a landfill and the floor below which was used as a police station long after partition.

Later, the Pakistani government removed the dumpsite but started using the place as a parking lot.

“In 2012 or 2013, the ground floor part of the haveli under the porch was converted into shops for vegetable sellers. This also led to the destruction of the main staircase which was transformed into a parking lot for two-wheeled vehicles. It is feared that such further encroachments will lead to the destruction of the main building, which has survived so far, despite being in a perilous state of neglect,” a report reads.

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